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Gas canisters found in Weston Hills prompts new warning about using laughing gas

A new warning about the use of laughing gas has been issued by police after gas canisters were found scattered on land in South Holland.

Scores of gas canisters were strewn across land off Delgate Bank, Weston Hills, just after the Late May Bank Holiday weekend.

The canisters, commonly linked to the use of nitrous oxide, or "hippy crack", were cleared away by South Holland District Council's environmental health team.

Police believe that gas canisters found on land in Weston Hills may have been contained nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.Photo by Coun Anthony Casson. (36239576)
Police believe that gas canisters found on land in Weston Hills may have been contained nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.Photo by Coun Anthony Casson. (36239576)

It is the third time in the past two months that gas canisters have been found dumped on land in South Holland after previous reports from Crowland last month and the Low Fulney area of Spalding in April.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: "South Holland Neighbourhood Policing Team does work closely with South Holland District Council to monitor such incidents and patrol areas where canisters have been found.

"The aim of this is, from an educational point of view, to make people aware of the dangers in using nitrous oxide, a colourless gas often supplied in small, bullet-shaped metal canisters.

"We have found that often people are not aware of the dangers in inhaling this gas, both from attempting to inhale it directly from the canister and from inhaling too much of the gas which can lead to unconsciousness and even suffocation from lack of oxygen.

"Heavy use of nitrous oxide can also lead to anaemia and serious nerve damage, while mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol can be especially dangerous."

Traditionally used for pain relief during dentistry or childbirth, nitrous oxide is also used by caterers in whipped cream.

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 made it illegal to supply, import or export the substance, also known simply as "Nos".

"As of 2016, nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply because of its psychoactive effect," the police spokesman said.

"Supply would include two friends sharing a canister and passing it to each other."

Simon Gladwin, programme manager for public health at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "We commissioned 'We Are With You' to provide substance misuse services across the county.

"A revised service is in operation due to Covid-19 but new referrals are still welcome.

"If anyone is having difficulties with any drug or alcohol, please call 0800 304 7021 for help and advice."

Coun Anthony Casson, the district council's portfolio holder for public protection, said: "I would like to thank the council for collecting up the gas canisters so quickly."

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